What you can and can’t do under the new social distancing rules in Massachusetts

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  • Here’s the total listing of companies which can be allowed to remain open in Massachusetts below Charlie Baker’s order

Gov. Charlie Baker issued new statewide restrictions Monday geared toward combatting the unfold of the coronavirus.

In a press convention, the Massachusetts governor ordered all nonessential companies to shut their brick-and-mortar operations by midday Tuesday and decreased the restrict on public gatherings from 25 folks to 10. Baker additionally directed the state’s Department of Public Health to challenge a “stay at home advisory,” which he famous was not an order.

“I do not believe I can — or should — order U.S. citizens to be confined to their homes for days on end,” Baker mentioned. “It doesn’t make sense from a public health point of view, and it’s not realistic.”


Baker proclaims closure of nonessential companies, points keep at residence advisory


The new order Monday permits a variety of  “essential” companies to remain open, from grocery shops to well being care services to produce shops to laundromats to banks. Baker mentioned he felt it was necessary to clarify that entry to meals and drugs is an “unimpeded right.”

Still, the governor added that folks over the age of 70 or with underlying well being points ought to “strictly” restrict shut contact with others and requested the general public to guard these most weak to the illness, whether or not or not it’s providing to run errands for them or limiting “unnecessary activities” themselves. While troublesome to take, Baker mentioned the “aggressive” social distancing measures are “designed to give public health experts the time they need to ramp up additional steps that must be taken to effectively push back the virus.”

The new restrictions run from midday Tuesday via April 7, until additional prolonged. Here’s what else they do and don’t enable:

Can I nonetheless exit for recent air?

Yes. Baker even inspired particular person train, comparable to taking a stroll or run across the block or on the park. Same goes for taking your canine for a stroll.

However, crew sports activities — each indoor and out of doors — that carry folks “into close, physical contact” usually are not allowed, even when the sport includes fewer than 10 folks.

“If you’re at the park, there shouldn’t be any pick-up basketball games, touch football games, or activities or events that create the person-to-person contact we are seeking to eliminate,” Baker mentioned. “That spreads the virus.”

And whereas the 10-person restrict on public gatherings doesn’t apply to people in an enclosed, out of doors house (like a discipline or car parking zone), officers say it isn’t suggested. According to an official steerage, people should additionally comply with social distancing protocols by remaining no less than six toes aside.

What gatherings are restricted to 10 folks?

Any organized neighborhood, civic, public, leisure, or faith-based occasion, in addition to sporting occasions, live shows, conferences, conventions, fundraisers, parades, gala’s, and festivals — most of which had already been canceled or postponed below the 25-person restrict. Weddings, funerals, and any comparable occasion or exercise that brings folks right into a confined indoor or out of doors house are additionally now restricted to 10 folks.

So a get-together with lower than 10 mates is OK?

Technically, sure. But the Baker administration is asking folks to keep away from pointless journey and different pointless actions through the two-week time interval. Given what we find out about how the virus spreads via households and shut mates, that is likely to be a good suggestion.

Do I want a vital cause to go away the home?

No.

Again, officers are urging residents in opposition to any pointless journeys. But in contrast to some so-called shelter-in-place orders in different components of the nation, the brand new guidelines don’t even place any theoretical restrictions on journey in Massachusetts. After always batting down unfounded rumors of an impending lockdown, Baker made some extent Monday to say “we are not prohibiting travel” and that roads stay open.

Can I nonetheless take public transit?

Yes, although it’s not notably suggested. Baker mentioned that MBTA service will proceed, albeit on a extra restricted foundation, primarily to serve those that should nonetheless go to work at important companies.

“Just because the T is open, doesn’t mean we think it’s a good idea to take the train downtown to meet up with friends,” he mentioned.

Can I nonetheless go to the grocery retailer every time I would like?

Yes. The restrict on gatherings doesn’t apply to grocery shops, well being care services, or any of the opposite companies or locations designated as “essential.” While particular person supermarkets might have their very own social distancing protocols, the state order doesn’t influence them.

What about different shops?

Convenience shops, pet provide shops, auto provide and restore retailers, {hardware} shops, and residential equipment retailers are additionally allowed to remain open. Baker famous Monday that e-commerce and supply stays an possibility.

Can eating places nonetheless supply takeout and supply?

Yes.

Last week, Baker ordered bars and eating places to close down their eating areas, however allowed them to supply takeout and supply. The new order Monday does have an effect on their means to do this, however they will’t have greater than 10 workers working within the restaurant at a time.

What occurs if I violate the order?

Baker mentioned he expects the brand new orders will primarily be enforced on the native degree, with a give attention to figuring out if nonessential companies are persevering with on-site operations.

First-time offenders will obtain a warning, whereas a second violation might end in a positive of as much as $300. According to the state’s official steerage, any additional repeated and willful offenses could also be topic to felony penalties, together with a positive of as much as $500, jail time, or each.

Of course, officers are hoping it doesn’t come to that. Baker famous Monday that many people and companies have already been successfully complying with the brand new social distancing guidelines.

“We must all embrace this new way of life and appreciate that here we can all find purpose as we battle this virus together,” he mentioned.